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Pop-Tarts co-inventor William ‘Bill’ Post dies at 96

Breakfast would never be the same, thanks to Post.
/ Source: TODAY

William “Bill” Post, who transformed breakfast by helping to invent Pop-Tarts, has died, according to an obituary by Michigan’s MKD Funeral Homes. He was 96.

A native of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Post got his start at 16 washing trucks at the Hekman Biscuit Company. He returned to the company after a stint with the Army Air Corps, working way up to personnel manager at the age of 21.

About two decades later, he was the plant manager at Hekman — later known as the Keebler Company — when executives from Kellogg’s came by and asked him if he thought Keebler could develop a new product they wanted to make.

William "Bill" Post played a key role in the creation of Pop-Tarts.
William "Bill" Post played a key role in the creation of Pop-Tarts.Courtesy MKD Funeral Home

“It is at this juncture that Bill is often credited for having ‘invented’ the Pop Tart,” the obituary says.

“To be accurate, however, Bill would say, ‘I assembled an amazing team that developed Kellogg’s concept of a shelf-stable toaster pastry into a fine product that we could bring to market in the span of just four months.’ The collaboration and growth of Kellogg’s and Keebler continued until Kellogg’s finally purchased the Keebler company.”

There are dozens of kinds of Pop-Tarts, which boasts it has “close to 100 unexpected flavors under our flaky crust” on its website. “Morningtime, snacktime, whatevetime — whenever craving calls, they'll be there to put their crusts on the line,” it adds.

A box of Kellogg Co. Pop-Tarts.
Pop-Tarts originated with four flavors in 1964, but there are many more than that now.Tiffany Hagler-Geard / Getty Images

Kellanova, which now owns Pop-Tarts, also mourned Post’s death.

“We are deeply saddened to share the news that William ‘Bill’ Post passed away over the weekend,” the company said in a statement to “He played an important role in co-creating the iconic Pop-Tarts brand and we are grateful to Bill for his legacy and lasting contributions to our company.”

Post would later work in the corporate offices with Keebler before retiring at the age of 56, although he did serve as a consultant for the company for 20 years.

Pop-Tarts have left an indelible mark, not just on breakfast tables, but on, well, “pop” culture. In December, a costumed mascot was eaten by players from Kansas State University’s football team in a viral moment after they beat North Carolina State University in the Pop-Tarts Bowl in Orlando, Florida.

Comedian Paula Poundstone had an entire bit about her love of them, while Jerry Seinfeld, a well-known fan of breakfast cereal, has also joked about Pop-Tarts in his standup routine.

As far as back as 2018, Seinfeld spoke publicly about making a movie about the creating of Pop-Tarts. In 2022, he told TODAY’s Jenna Bush Hager that he had actually made the movie, which will be available on Netflix on May 3.

Post and his wife were married for 72 years before she died in 2020. He is survived by his two children, their spouses, seven grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.